Breakfast, lunch, and dinner - the three meals humans generally survive on. There’s brunch on the weekends, of course, and late night eats when we’ve partied just a little too hard. But what about that one time of day that nobody talks about? The in-between time that’s not quite lunch and definitely not dinner. You know, 4pm.
Sure, it’s not every day you’re looking for food at this hour, but sometimes you’re caught in between auditions, or you’re sightseeing with your parents, or you simply fell asleep with your eyes open again at work, and you missed lunch. Good luck - it’s a war zone out there. Most decent restaurants close for a few hours in between lunch and dinner or haven’t even opened yet at all. Or so you think. Get out of that depressing drive-through or overpriced salad bar - here are 18 spots that make 4pm great again.
Your childhood best friend is in town, and you guys are off exploring Hollywood Blvd. But Dora The Explorer just sucker-punched Spiderman outside Madame Tussaud's, and now you’re starving. There’s absolutely nothing for you on Hollywood Blvd, so make the short trek down Highland to Salt’s Cure. The fantastic, casual spot has good food, a great front patio, and a specific “midday” menu from 3pm-6pm.
One of our favorite neighborhood spots in the Fairfax area, Escuela is open every day from 11am - 11pm. These aren’t the best tacos in town, but we don’t care. They’re still good, and the laid-back atmosphere inside is ideal for a quick 4pm drop-in. We love a good taco truck as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s nice to step into some AC, pop a squat, and watch the fools try to make their way down Beverly at rush hour.
Your friend has a 6:30pm flight out of LAX, but you’re down there early because you’ve been personally victimized by the 405 at rush hour in the past. But now you’re both hungry, and don’t know what to do. The Tripel in Playa Del Rey is a fantastic little neighborhood spot with excellent food (get the burger) and a solid beer list to get your friend buzzed before their flight. It’s an easy place to get in and out of, and you’re still only 10 minutes from the airport.
Right as you were about to leave for lunch, your boss did that passive-aggressive thing where they ask you about a project and then stare at you silently until you realize you’re not eating for several more hours. But now it’s 4pm, and you need food. Downtown is covered with all-day cafes, but nothing quite beats the Filipino comfort food happening over at Rice Bar. The space is truly miniature, but if you can snag a stool at the counter, do it. Plus, you’re in no rush to get back to your boss.
You just got out of a 3:30pm callback at one of those commercial casting offices on Ocean Park Blvd., and you think you nailed it. Time to celebrate. Milo and Olive might just have the best pizza on the Westside, and garlic knots laced with something dangerously addictive (probably butter). The low-key space is fun but relaxed, and though it can get pretty crowded at peak times, 4pm will be clear sailing.
Nobody ever really wants to house an entire sandwich in front of a stranger, but that PR girl keeps pushing your coffee date back and now it’s 4pm and you’re starving. Head to Sycamore Kitchen. The daytime cafe on La Brea is what lunchtime dreams are made of, and though they close at 5pm, they go strong until the finish line. So order that sandwich or tartine or whatever else looks good (aka everything), and don’t apologize for a thing.
Admittedly, almost every Thai Town restaurant is open all day, everyday, but we had to choose one, and it’s Hoy-Ka Noodle. Not only is the food excellent here, the space and vibe is as close to a Thai sports bar that we have in this town. You’ll order a quick beer, the Pad Ka Prao, and stare blankly at whatever sh*tty international tennis match is playing on the TV.
Sh*t. You’ve been working from home all day, lost complete track of time, and now you’re running out the door hungry. Don’t you dare do drive-through. Haché LA in Silver Lake is your quick burger fix that’s actually good and won’t have you sadly parked under an overpass wondering how warm is too warm for that packet of special sauce to be safe.
Your parents are in town, you just spent four hours at LACMA, and you might kill someone if you have to take another photo by those lampposts. Calm yourself and get to Jon And Vinny’s. The fact that this place is open every day from 8am - 10pm is not just a gift for your parents’ immediate safety, but to the city in general. This laidback, bright Italian spot on Fairfax is one of the best we have, and at 4pm, you get to avoid the rabid crowds that come later.
There was a huge upset on The Bachelor last night and you’re taking a personal day. After a full afternoon of personal self-reflection though, it’s now 4pm and you need to eat. Thankfully, one of our favorite sandwich spots in the city is open and ready for you to eat your feelings at. Larchmont Wine And Cheese is technically a wine store, but their back deli counter is magic. It’s small, and there are only about seven sandwiches on the menu, but each one will cure even the worst reality TV-induced depressions. Call it in ahead of time to avoid the line, and find a seat at one the tables out front.
LA’s best pizza place you’ve never of before? That would be DeSano. Over the past few years, it's built a quiet cult following for its tremendous Neopolitan pizza - and not just by LA’s standards either. Its East Hollywood location isn’t exactly what you’d consider in the middle of things - but if it’s 4pm and you’re roaming the LA streets looking for pizza, DeSano's huge, casual space is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Sometimes you’re caught in Hollywood between a meeting with your agent and your evening rehearsal in Silver Lake, and you just can’t do Zankou right now. The move is Cape Seafood. Located on the ground floor of a mixed-user on Fairfax, Cape Seafood is definitely a high-end fish market, but they also have an affordable daily menu with everything from lox to shrimp rolls. And everything is tremendous. Also, parking is easy and free, which is a true gift in this area.
You were forced to go to an out-of-office seminar that didn’t serve food, and now you’re driving two co-workers back to Century City and people are irritable. Part restaurant and part marketplace, Stir Market is great because it’s big and there’s something for everybody. Pre-made salads, rotisserie plates, or even pesto gnocchi. You can dine-in or grab and go. Tell Pam and Linda it's all going to be fine.
There are just those days that lunch doesn’t happen and you’re caught slaving away at your beachside live/work microloft in Venice - we get it. But you need to eat at some point, and your move is Gjusta. Open from 7am - 9pm, this all-day deli/cafe/kaftan swap meet is definitely a scene, but the food is always great. You can’t go wrong with any of their sandwiches, but if you’re still craving breakfast (who isn’t?), it’s served until 5pm.
You just landed at LAX after a week of eating broiled whitefish in the Midwest, and you need LA sushi back in your life immediately. Luckily, we have Sugarfish and no matter what awkward time of the afternoon you fly in, it’ll be open. Plus, with locations literally everywhere these days, chances are your Uber home will pass at least one of them.
We’ve all had that late afternoon meeting in Culver City, and we all know how truly terrible it is. So instead of starving yourself during the 405 gridlock, grab a quick bite at Loqui first and make the trip back home bearable. Located in a brand new complex next to the Blue Line stop, Loqui might seem like just another overpriced taco joint, but it’s not. Their spicy chicken is fantastic, the flour tortillas are made in-house, and even though $5 for a taco is a lot, they’re massive.
You felt it coming on yesterday and it’s here. Sore throat, stuffed up nose, chest congestion - time for a sick day. But after one Law & Order episode turned into five, you’re all of sudden starved and nothing is open. Except Northern Cafe. The tiny Westwood spot is open all day and cooking up some of the better Chinese food west of the SGV. Think dumplings, Dan Dan noodles, and plenty of hot soup. Time to cure the soul.